‘None of this rings true’: Sen. Josh Hawley calls out NYT article for ‘remarkably condescending portrait of rural Midwest’

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Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley (R) took issue with a recent New York Times piece in which the author discusses the politics of her hometown of Clinton, Arkansas.

Maybe author means well, but this is remarkably condescending portrait of rural Midwest. Title says it all. Portrays rural folks as backwards, insular, stingy. I’m from rural MO. I represent many rural communities. None of this rings true https://t.co/IJFgynTUDo

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 6, 2019

Especially bizarre is claim that rural residents not interested in community. In fact, most rural Missourians will tell you that’s what they believe in & cherish most of all. For examples & to meet some rural Missourians, read here: https://t.co/4pS679S7aI

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 6, 2019

From article: “many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out … It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants & government, but also against helping your neighbor.” Pure class condescension

— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 6, 2019

Here are several excerpts from the piece illustrating the bias and condescension that Hawley references:

My time here makes me believe that the impeachment scandal will not hurt Mr. Trump — and that Democrats who promise to make the lives of people like my neighbors better might actually help him.

The most dominant news source here is Fox News, which I think helps perpetuate these attitudes. There’s another element, too: For decades, the dominant conservative theory of politics is that government should be run like a business, lean and efficient.

The people left in rural areas are more and more conservative, and convinced that the only way to get things done is to do them yourself. Especially as services have disappeared, they are more resentful about having to pay taxes, even ones that might restore those services.

It makes me wonder if appeals from Democratic candidates still hoping to win Trump voters over by offering them more federal services will work. Many of the Democratic front-runners have released plans that call for more federal tax investment in rural infrastructure. Mr. Widener told me he had watched some of the Democratic debates, and his reaction was that everything the candidates proposed was “going to cost me money.”

As long as Democrats make promises to make their lives better with free college and Medicare for all sound like they include government spending, these voters will turn to Trump again — and it won’t matter how many scandals he’s been tarnished by.

Several people have sent me this piece saying the same thing. https://t.co/wKMElZirWz

— PEG (@pegobry) October 6, 2019

It's the |6850b31d6e6f492271028ea2861bcc6c|, people who work there take a Silkwood shower after returning from anywhere you can't get to via the Acela, unless it's LA. https://t.co/hu3TgDQONF

— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) October 6, 2019

I find it interesting that every form of cultural condescension is disallowed in society, except the type directed at working class or rural people. This article, maybe well intentioned, treats people as "aw shucks, these rubes should know better" yocals. https://t.co/xLRkC0jFbc

— Andrew T. Walker (@andrewtwalk) October 6, 2019

Perhaps the most egregious part of the article is the insistence that all rural America behaves a certain way, a broadbrush assertion made by a writer who would undoubtedly be offended by the suggestion that all national media believe and behave with the elitism that this particular article espouses.

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